Today Microsoft announced that the Kinect for Windows Software Development Kit (SDK) will be hitting this spring for free.
Kinect for Xbox 360 enables users to bring games and entertainment to life without using a controller.
This SDK will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to Kinect. There has been a lot of interest by the community for enabling Kinect in Windows and Microsoft wants to support that as natural user interface (NUI) .
For example, in January students at the University of Washington's Biorobotics Lab used Kinect with a commercially available PHANTOM Omni Haptic Device to explore how robotic surgery could be enhanced by incorporating the sense of feel.
The Kinect for Windows SDK is being developed and released by Microsoft Research (MSR) in collaboration with IEB. It will be available this spring as a free download, and will give academic researchers and enthusiasts access to key pieces of the Kinect system- such as the audio technology, system application programming interfaces and direct control of the Kinect sensor itself.
Natural and intuitive technologies such as Kinect can be more than just a platform for gaming and entertainment. They open up enormous opportunities across a wide variety of scenarios, including addressing societal issues in areas such as healthcare and education.